The Chinese Lunar New Year (农历新年) is a time where Chinese people in Asian countries wear clothes that are as loud as the music that gets churned out this time of the year.

And the first song that comes to mind when CNY rolls around is Gong Xi Gong Xi (恭喜恭喜).

However, for those with a ear for things, you might have noticed that Gong Xi Gong Xi always sounded a tad ominous.

The main reason is because it is written in the minor key — where the general rule of thumb for music is that anything in minor sounds sad and anything in major sounds positively jubilant.

So why was Gong Xi Gong Xi written in the minor key if it is a song about the arrival of spring?

Well, because Gong Xi Gong Xi was never meant to be a Chinese New Year song and the spring that was referenced relates to the end of death and destruction on a global scale.

This mind-bending factoid has been brought to light by both Xiaohan, a prolific lyricist for Chinese artistes in a blog post for OMY [OMY is now defunct], as well as another article in English by

And then suddenly, everything kind of makes sense in this new context.

Apparently, Gong Xi Gong Xi was written in Shanghai in 1945 to celebrate the defeat of Japan and the liberation of China at the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War (World War II).

The composer was Chen Gexin (陳歌辛), who wrote the music and words of the song, and who also went by pen names Lin Mei (林枚) and Qing Yu (慶餘). Chen was born on to an elite Shanghai family, and his maternal grandfather was from India. Chen died in his sleep due to starvation and illness on January 25, 1961 at the age of 47, during the Great Chinese Famine period. He was buried in the mass grave at the hill near the farm.

He was jailed by the Imperial Japanese Army for his patriotic songs during the war.

The war and all its atrocities committed during that time might have had a profound impact on Chen, which influenced his music.

Things took an odd turn as the Mandarin title sounded like a Chinese New Year greeting and the song celebrates the arrival of spring.

It quickly became a part of Chinese New Year celebrations and remained a part of the season’s repertoire of music.

An early recording of the song was by Yao Lee and her brother Yao Min, a famous singer.

Here’s a YouTube video of a rare recording by the duo:

One of Yao’s best known hits was Rose, Rose, I Love You (玫瑰玫瑰我愛你), also written by Chen Gexin.

A sampling of the lyrics in English:

On every street and pathway,
On everyone’s lips,
The first thing we say is,
“Good wishes, good wishes.”

Good wishes, good wishes to you, yeah!
Good wishes, good wishes to you!

Winter has come to an end,
That is really good news,
A warm spring breeze is
Blowing to wake up the earth.

Good wishes, good wishes to you, yeah!
Good wishes, good wishes to you!

The icy snow has melted,
See the plum tree blossom!
The long night is past,
I heard the cock crow.

Good wishes, good wishes to you, yeah!
Good wishes, good wishes to you!

After so many difficulties,
Such bad tempers
So many children in their hearts,
Look forward to the news of Spring!

Good wishes, good wishes to you, yeah!
Good wishes, good wishes to you!


(There is no mention of Chinese New Year in the song)

#RobertReview: 8 | 10

Published: 14 February 2021

Gong Xi Gong Xi 恭喜恭喜, the Famous Chinese New Year Song Originated from the Celebration of The End of World War 2